Charlie Francis dies at 61; disgraced former sprint coach

Charlie Francis, who coached Ben Johnson when the Canadian sprinter became the first athlete to be stripped of an Olympic gold medal for using banned drugs, has died. He was 61.

Francis died Wednesday at Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital after a five-year battle with cancer, according to a statement from his family.

Johnson tested positive for the steroid stanozolol after winning the 100 meters at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

Athletics Canada, the country's governing body for track and field, banned Francis from coaching for life after he told a 1989 inquiry into the scandal that he had introduced Johnson to steroids. At the inquiry, Francis said the use of performance-enhancing drugs in track and field was rampant.

Although he was banned from coaching in Canada, he worked with American sprinters Tim Montgomery and Marion Jones in 2003. Both later confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs during their careers.

Francis was born in Toronto in 1948. He became a champion sprinter for Canada in the early 1970s and reached the second round of the 100 at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

Francis began coaching Johnson, then 15, at the Scarborough Optimists track and field club.

Survivors include his wife, former Olympic hurdler Angela Coon, and his son, James.